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Palmyra R-I District faculty and staff will see an increase in their pay after action by the R-I Board of Education last week.
The board adopted the annual budget of $11,816,455 for the 2022-2023 school year (FY23), which included a $1,750 increase to the base salary for teachers in addition to the $400 vertical step on the salary schedule for years’ experience given to eligible teachers.
Non-certified staff will receive a 5 percent raise in salary. In addition, the budget includes an increase in bus driver pay and an increase in substitute teacher pay from $85 to $100 per day.
The budget also includes the increase to beginning wages for classified employees that matches the January 2023 state minimum wage.
In addition to approving the budget, the board also set lunch prices for the 2022-23 school year, approved a transfer of funds, rescinded the early retirement incentive policy and hired new staff members.
According to Superintendent Kirt Malone, the board was glad to be able to give staff a raise this coming year.
“The new salary schedule includes additional increases for teachers who have their master’s and 20 years experience, as well as teacher with the education specialist and 20 years of experience,” he explained.
For the 11th time in 19 years there will not be an increase of the Missouri Teacher Retirement System or the Missouri Non-teacher Retirement System.
“The Missouri retirement system is one of the fiscally strongest public retirement systems in the country,” Malone said. “PSRS is an excellent benefit for Missouri public school teachers.”
The operating levy used in the development of the budget is $3.3480 and a debt service rate of $0.68 for a total of $4.0280. This is the same tax rate as FY22 and reflects a $0.0422 voluntary rollback in the operating funds from the highest voter approved operating levy.
The budget also include a 6.8 percent increase for the health insurance and the hiring of a post-secondary advisor at the high school as well as the purchase of a new lawn mower and a new bus.
In new business, the board adopted the meal prices for the 2022-23 school year.
Lunch and breakfast prices for the coming school year are: $2.10 and $2.50 for the elementary school; $2.10 and $2.75 for the middle school; $2.15 and $2.75 for the high school; and $2.70 and $3.25 for the adults.
Reduced price breakfast is 30 cents and reduced price lunch is 40 cents. Extra milk will cost 45 cents.
The board approved a transfer of money from fund 1 (operating) to fund 4 (capital projects) of $350,000 from M&M surtax, the greater of $162,326 or 7 percent transfer, and allowable transportation transfer approved by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).
Of the board rescinding the early retirement incentive policy (policy GCPCA), Malone noted the policies evolved when there was an abundance of teacher candidates 20 to 30 years ago.
“The policies were intended to incentivize veteran teachers to retire early,” he explained. “Now that there are very limited teacher candidates to choose from in almost every teaching area, schools are choosing not to incentivize veteran teachers to retire early in hopes of keeping them in the classroom.”
In bringing the school to full staff in the classrooms for the coming school year, the board hired Allison Reeder, sixth grade science teacher and Science Olympiad sponsor; Carey McDaniel, high school paraprofessional; Jill Duppong, elementary paraprofessional; Brittani Keller, PAT parent educator, and Kara Hoye, high school secretary.
They also accepted the resignations of Kortney MacDonough, PAT parent educator; and Mariann Walotka, FCCLA assistant advisor.
According to Malone, while the school has filled their classroom positions, the district is still looking for an assistant girls basketball coach.
The board reviewed the final Clarence Cannon Conference Sportsmanship results for the 2021- 2022 school year, of which the district averaged 3.970, missing the full four points in boys basketball student spectators and boys basketball adult spectators.
“The Clarence Cannon Conference was one of the first conferences in Missouri to establish Sportsmanship Standards for everyone involved in games. Since the standards were established every conference school has striven to practice good sportsmanship,” said Malone. “The Palmyra R-I school board, administration and staff take good sportsmanship very seriously and believe that good sportsmanship permeates through programs and schools where it is practiced at high levels. Our goal is to receive a perfect score, as well as the highest score in the conference every year, in every sport.
The board also:
• the board re-adopted the conflict-of-interest policy (policy BBFA);
• adopted the professional development plan for the 2022-2023 school year; and
• heard a report from Bridgette Augspurg on the district’s Title I program.